The measurement of species selection on evolving characters Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractMany processes can contribute to macroevolutionary change. This fact is the source of the wide variety of macroevolutionary change across time and taxa as well as the bane of pale-obiological research trying to understand how macroevolution works. Here, I present a general framework for understanding the variety of macroevolutionary phenomena. Based on Price‚Äôs theorem, this framework provides a simple quantitative means to understand (1) the macroevolutionary processes that are possible and (2) the way those processes interact with each other. The major qualitative features of macroevolution depend first on the number of processes that co-occur and then on the magnitudes and evolutionary directions of those processes. Species selection, the major macroevolutionary process, consists of patterns of differential rates of speciation and extinction. Its macroevolutionary efficacy depends on the presences of sufficient microevolutionary change. Conversely, microevolutionary change is limited in power by the independent evolution of species, and species selection acting across populations of species can amplify or suppress microevolution. Non-trends may result if species selection sufficiently neutralizes microevolution and may yield stable macroevolutionary patterns over many millions of years.

publication date

  • August 15, 2017

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  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2018 10:11 AM

Full Author List

  • Simpson C

author count

  • 1

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